The internet in developing nations

Internet seen as a positive influence on education - but less positive when it comes to morality.

The Pew Research Center surveyed thousands of people in 32 countries from Argentina to Vietnam and including Poland, Russia and Ukraine to explore how internet use is changing – and how people feel about how the internet is influencing their lives.

The overall findings suggest that 64% of respondents say the internet is having a positive influence on education.  52% of respondents feel it is a good influence on personal relationships.  However, the responses were much more mixed when it came to the ways in which the internet is influencing politics and morality.

Internet access and computer ownership in the countries surveyed differed widely.  The percentage of people who either accessed the internet at least occasionally – or who owned a smartphone – ranged from 76% in Chile, 73% in Russia, 67% in Venezuela and 63% in China and Poland to as low as 8% in Pakistan and 11% in Bangladesh.

Key findings

  • For those who are online, socialising and social networking is the most popular activity
  • Information seeking (e.g. political news, health advice etc) is the second most popular activity
  • The research shows the direct link between per capita income and internet access
  • Internet usage higher amongst the young, the well-educated and those who speak English
  • While cell-phone ownership is widespread, smartphone ownership lags behind
  • Only 36% of respondents say the internet has a positive impact on politics
  • 42% said they felt the internet had a negative impact on morality.

For more information on the methodology – and more results – see here.